Conlangs of a Remembrancer

The Speech of Other Worlds

Shshi and Nasute Languages Compared

I lifted the following notes directly from my Shshi language document and I was pleased to find that the tables remained intact and legible — nothing was lost!  This material is entirely unedited — remains just as I first wrote it a few years ago — but I thought it might be of interest to some of the conlangers.  I tried to compare the four termite languages that I use in later volumes of “The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head,” complete with theoretical roots.  All the languages are supposed to share a common ancestry.


Language had begun to evolve before the two ethnic groups split.  The three languages (Shum’za, Nasute, and Shei’kwai) are now comparable to widely diverse Indo-European tongues, e.g., Inj and extinct Armenian.  Each has dialects; some dialects are mutually comprehensible, as, e.g., Da’no’no and Shum’za.  Northern Nasute and Shkei’akh’zei are mutually comprehensible dialects of a Nasute sublanguage, while Southern Nasute and Desert Shshi are mutually comprehensible dialects of a second Nasute sublanguage.  The Shei’kwai (or Tramontane, or Yo’sho’zei/Gwai’sho’zei) language is distinct.  A cognate system can be developed for the three languages.  A discussion of the words for mother and king follows.


Northern Nasute


Hypothetical Root


ma’na’ta na’tu’ta ta’tzi See notes below table mother, female progenitor
na’sha’ma ma’mo’sa hwa’no’tze *ma-sa-na*na-ma-sa*na-ma-a king, male progenitor
na (da’na) mo’te *ma holy, sacred
sai’a sa *sa most
ma na *na male
ta ta *ta female

A discussion of the designation for mother and King:  The Shum’za word, ma’na’ta|, appears to mean male-holy-female; na’sha’ma|, holy-you are [perhaps, existing one]-male.  The Northern Nasute (hereafter called NN) word for mother is na’tu’ta|, which means male-inside-female.  (In NN mythology, the Nameless Mother had no inseminator; the first created entities occurred by parthenogenesis.)  Therefore, ma’na’ta| derives from the hypothetical roots *ma (Shshi na, NN mo), meaning holy; *na (Shshi ma, NN na), meaning male; and *ta (Shshi ta, NN ta).  Thus, ma’na’ta derives from roots meaning holy-male-female, which is almost identical to the NN derivation.

Similarly, the Shshi word for King, na’sha’ma, derives from *ma-sa-na, or holy-more [greater]-male.  The Nasute ma’mo’sa| derives from *na-ma-sa, or male-more-holy, exactly the same thing.

In general, the Western Shshi language family has retained the archetypal forms more closely than the Shum’za has and the Yo’sho’zei dialect is probably the closest.

Comparative Information on Northern Nasute (NN)

Nouns and adjectives in NN do not have gender, but adjectives have number (singular, double, and plural).

King names are four syllables and end in ‘ma.

Mother names are four syllables and end in ‘ta.

Warrior names always end in –a and have 5 syllables.

Alate names have only three syllables.

Worker names usually have two syllables, but no hard and fast rule.

Hypothetical *s becomes sh in Shshi.

Initial e’ is the infinitive marker.

Regular infinitives end in -p, -b, or -r.  There are approximately 20 known irregular verbs, including to be, to do or act, to see

Negative verbs are formed by suffixing ’re to verb form.

Plurals (two or more) are formed by suffixing se’; stones, se’koi’ze|.

-a – see -ti

-ti denotes a personal noun (including groups of people); sometimes -a is used, as in ap’a.

ze denotes a physical thing (including places and body parts)

ze’e denotes an abstract or spiritual thing

te is the singular adjective marker; –tes denotes two; –ste denotes plural.  Adjectives follow the noun even when it separates the subject from the verb, unlike Shshi. se’koi’ze| chu’tes| is (two) hard stones; se’koi’ze| chu’ste| is (three or more) hard stones.  In contrast, in Shshi, (two or more) hard stones is da’ju| shka’zi|

The concept of much or many uses reduplication as in Shum’za, except that sometimes the first “syllable” is abbreviated; cf. gwi’gwir’ze

There is no place marker like Shshi –mi.  –che is used on all fortress names.  Otherwise places are simply designated with –ze like any other physical thing.

Here is a list of cognate sounds (Shshi given first) (these so not have a 100% correlation):  j = ch; r = hro; n = m; sh = s; zh = ts.  Also, in vowels, a is often rendered with e and sometimes o or oi; u may be u or uh.

Northern Nasute Vocabulary (Sorted by NN)



Hypothetical Root


a (e’a) sho *ap be (inf.)
a’ti sho’zei *a being, creature, person
ap’a pai’zei *pa-a from *sup + a (acting + creature) warrior
che’ze cha *etach fortress (SN: uch; Y/G: tet’me; chet’me)
chu’te ju (da’ju) *chuh hard, firm
-e- -a- place holder in names. Thus, Ju’mu’s “real” name is Chu’te’e’nu’a in Northern Nasute
e’ denotes infinitive in initial use
gur(e’gur) lugo, guto thunder, also shake (inf.)
gur’ze’e lug’zi, gut’zi thunder, also shaking (noun)
gwi’gwir’ze no equivalent carton, lit., much chewed thing
gwir (e’gwir) gwolo *gwer chew (inf.)
ha’ze’e tei’mo’zi moon
hep (e’hep) hio defend (inf.)
hro’ze ro’mi land, fortress holdings
if’ti is’zei *ifsh healer
ma’mo’sa na’sha’ma *ma-sa-na or *na-ma-sa king, male progenitor
koi’ze ka’zi stone, rock
mo’te na (da’na) *ma holy, sacred
na ma *na male
na’tu’ta ma’na’ta See notes above table mother, female progenitor
nu’ze mu’zi *myuk claw, foot
raia’te yo *rya ancient, very old
rash’ta’rak’ze’e None ancient being without Caste; rash = ? variant of raia’te
‘re wei *war not (negative verb marker)
rei wei *war no
sa sai *sa more, great
se’ sh- *s- plural formation
su (e’su) shuo *sup do or act (inf.)
swem’te da’swan sticky
ta ta *ta female
ta’rak’ze’e (female + ? + abstract being marker da’kei| shai’zei| no known cognates one outside of a Caste, or of an outer Caste; hence, one who does not belong.
to (e’to) teio see (inf.)
to’ti tei’zei seer
tsuh’ze’e zhu’zi fame
uhm’ze um’zi yuhm head



ei’ denotes infinitive in initial use

z’ denotes the plural

’de is the singular adjective marker

’ge is the plural adjective marker

 s (final) is the marker of a gerund adjectival form, e.g. seeing is tois’de|

’luh is the adverb marker.

’ai concludes all prepositions

’tzuh denotes a personal noun

’tze denotes a being who is not a Shi (includes spiritual and animal)

’tzi denotes a being who is a Shi, also a personal name

’tze’uh denotes an abstraction

’ze denotes a physical thing

’ze’uh denotes a body part

’me denotes a place

’me’uh denotes a non-specific place, like sea or sky or underground or mountain

’tet is stuck on the end of fortress names among the Yo’sho’zei

’chet is stuck on the end of fortress names among the Gwai’sho’zei

There is no such thing as a place-holder.

An example of a Yo’sho’zei word: tzwem’ge| z’yuh’ze’uh| meaning sticky heads.  Cf. Northern Nasute for sticky heads (people):  swem’ste| se’uhm’ze’ti|   In Shum’za, the same is da’swan| shum’zi| zei’zei| [or sho’zei|].  But the Shum’za would contract it to swan’shum’zei|

Warriors’ names have no requisite number of syllables or ending, although many end in ’tzuh, which Di’fa’kro’mi translates as ’a, making the names ressemble Northern Nasute names.

 Yo’sho’zei/Gwai’sho’zeiVocabulary (sorted by Y/G)


Hypothetical Root


’ai denotes preposition
’chet fortress marker in G.; see word tet’me
’de singular adjective marker
ei’ denotes infinitive in initial use
k’k Indicator utterance, marking the end of a sentence
’luh Adverb marker
nuh’ Object link,   affixed to beginning of verbs
dne (dne’luh, dne’tze’uh) *daln now (adv.), present time (noun)
dol’ai *daln before (prep.) (temporal use)
dol’tze’uh, dol’de, dol’luh *daln past, time before (noun); past (adj.); before (adv.)
fish (ei’fish) *ifsh heal (inf.)
fish’de *ifsh healing (adj.)
fish’tzuh *ifsh healer
guoi’me’uh *gua sea, ocean (noun)
guoi’ze *gua water (noun)
hma’de *ma holy (adj.)
hma’no’tze *na+ma+a designates a King of   the Nameless One (holy male creature, not a Shi)
hma’no’tzi *na+ma+a King; designates a King   who is a Shi (holy male Shi creature)
kya *kya one (root of one,   first, etc.)
mro’de *mvro bright, light, shining   (as of the moon) (adj.)
myukh’ze’uh *myuk claw, foot
no *na male
rakh’tze’uh *rakh caste (noun)
ses (ei’ses) *sesk
  1. curse   (inf.)
  2. destine,   put a fate on (inf.)
ses’de *sesk
  1. cursed   (adj.)
  2. evil,   ill, bad (adj.)
  3. destined,   fated (adj.)
ses’tze’uh *sesk
  1. curse   (noun)
  2. evil   (noun)
  3. destiny,   fate (noun)
ses’wa’de *sesk + *war good, blessed
ses’tze’uh *sesk
  1. curse,   evil (noun)
  2. destiny,   fate (noun)
spa’tzuh *pa-a from *sup + a (acting + creature) warrior
ta’de *ta female
ta’ta’wa’tze Nameless One, or very female not-created one
ta’tzi mother (who is a Shi)
tet’me *etach fortress (S: cha|; SN: uch|; NN: che’ze|)  Both dialects, but used as a fortress   marker in Y. Fortress marker in G. is ’chet
toi (ei’toi) *toei see (inf.)
tois’de *toei seeing (gerund adj.)
toi’de *toei seen (adj.)
tza (ei’tza) *a be (inf.)
tza’tze *a being, creature (not a Shi)
tza’tzi being, creature, race, people (applied to Shi only) (sing.   and pl.)
tzi’ta *ta’zi Shi (lit., creature of female)
tzwem’de *twem sticky
chuh’de *chuh hard, firm
yuh’ze’uh *yuhm head
vun *va yes
wam *war no
’wa *war not (negative indicator attached to verb, sometimes in other parts of speech)
we’ *war not, un-, without (noun or adjective prefix)
we’rakh’tze’uh state of being casteless (with implication of evil or   punishment)
we’toi’de unseen, invisible (adj.)
vwi’de *vwi dark, without light (adj.)
vwi’tze’uh *vwi dark, condition of no light (noun)
ya’de *rya ancient
ya’de’tza’tzi (ancient race) (collective, sing. or plural) Yo’sho’zei (Ancient Ones) (no plural)


Language of the Shrin’ok Da’wai (Southern Nasutes)

The word for “fortress” is uch’me| and all fortress names end in ‘uch|.  Di’fa’kro’mi chooses to keep this word but Chi’mo’a’tu confuses it with the Shum’za ucho| which means to cleanSo he reduces it to u|, used as a place holder.

Note that SN uses –me for a place designation, like Y/G.

Warriors and Alates alike have three syllable names, with no obligatory indicators.  All eggs from the same laying get the same nymph-name; thus Pai’it’zei, Akh’it’zei, Gwaf’it’zei and Mu’it’zei are identified as hatchmates and were nymph-named It, Hammer.

A King’s name is made by suffixing no’hna to the nymph name, which may be up to three syllables.  A Mother’s name is made by suffixing no’ta to the nymph name, which may be up to three syllables.

’de:  adjective suffix, singular

A Table of Selected Words Shown in All Four Languages

Shum’za N. Nasute S. Nasute Y/G Root Inj
na (da’na) mo’te no’de hma’de *ma holy, sacred
ma na hna no *na male
na’sha’ma ma’mo’sa no’hna hma’no’tzi *ma-sa-na*na-ma-sa


ta (da’ta) ta’te ta’de ta’de *ta female
ma’na’ta na’tu’ta no’ta ta’tzi See earlier notes mother

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